Google puts people’s mobility maps online

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Social distancing is the public health strategy that many states have adopted to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. To help health authorities measure compliance with these measures, Google has decided to provide community mobility reports.

The data provides information on the flow of people for a number of places divided into categories such as shops and recreation, food and pharmacies, parks, public transport stations, workplaces and housing.

Reports will be processed for 131 countries, including Italy. Given the urgent need for such information, in the next few days – where possible – in-depth information will be provided at regional level. You can access the reports from this link.

The Italian data includes a general summary and detail for each region.

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These reports, which will be updated regularly, have been developed in compliance with the privacy policy and at no time will any personally identifiable information, such as a person’s location, contacts or individual movements, be made available. The data are collected from users who have activated the location history, which is deactivated by default on Google Maps.

“We will show trends over a period of several weeks, with the most recent information referring to 48-72 hours before publication,” the company explains in a press release: “The increase or decrease in attendance will appear in percentage points, while absolute attendance figures will not be shared.

“The data – explains Google – could help to understand how essential travel has changed, and in this way make it possible to suggest recommendations on shop opening hours or home delivery services. Similarly, frequent visits to certain public transport stations could indicate the need to add additional buses or trains to allow more space and social distance between people who need to travel.

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